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REVIEW: Silken Secrets by Joan Smith

Dear Ms Smith,

smith-ssecrets.jpgI’ve loved several of your Regency novels in the past. I liked this one too. But, sad to say, I didn’t love it.

Mary Anne Judson has an idyllic country life, except perhaps that her Uncle Edwin is of a casually larcenous nature. When he liberates an abandoned–and smuggled–cargo of fine silk and finds himself pursued by the handsome London draper, Mr. Robertson, life becomes rather hectic. And Mary Anne suspects there is more to the stylish draper than meets the eye.

Readers who are sick of reading about London Seasons and how to properly address an Viscount’s second son should check into your books. Several of the ones I’ve read have been set in the country or in towns other than London. I get tired of the seeming belief that there was only one city in all of England during the Regency era.

Mr. Robertson is a hero with a secret – but at least he’s not over in France spying. He stays in England and only decodes. I find this a much more likely scenario than a peer dodging back and forth across the channel. Uncle Edmund is hard to love. I think only a young girl who had been saved from the workhouse could really love him and that’s about all the people who do. Did he serve as contrast to Mr. Robertson? Mrs. Plummer, the housekeeper, is great character and I just adored her. But poor Fitch, the footman – bless his heart but he does all the hard work and gets precious little thanks for it. I like how loyal everyone is to each other in the story, well except for Uncle Edmund who seems to be loyal to himself first and maybe Mary Anne if he remembers to. Mary Anne is a sweet heroine but I’m afraid to say, she’s a little forgetable.

One thing that caught my eye and made me think was the sly take on the “made” vulgar Vulch family vs the aristocratic one of Uncle Edmund and Mary Anne. I’m not sure I’m entirely comfortable with the Vulches being put down just because they’re not “Quality” while Edmund gets away with almost anything with the implication that it’s okay because he has a pedigree. I had this same problem but to a much greater extent with Heyer’s “These Old Shades.” And while this is a nice enough book, it’s not as bitingly funny as other books.

So I liked it but I didn’t love it. I enjoyed reading it but it’ll be a long time before I’d read it again. C+


Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

One Comment

  1. Ann
    Jul 25, 2007 @ 20:31:43

    I have a ton of Joan Smith books. I used to read her all the time and I reread her regencies all the time. Then I couldn’t find her anywhere. A couple of years ago I saw that she had tried a mystery series and now she’s writing for an e-book publisher. Which is a comedown from having a book published every six months or so.

    I dunno. I think she would have a lot to say about the romance publishing industry. A lot. And I’d be interested to know what happened.

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